Brett Simpson sent through a report for his recent Crossfire mini-campaign set in the Pacific. The campaign is a series of three games, each using Mac’s Missions. The report features his 20mm Australian Imperial Force (AIF), Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF) (i.e. Naval Marines). All words and photos are Brett’s.
I’ve been using flags as my terrain objective markers for a long time. And recently I made some more for New Zealand, UK/GB, India, USA, Germany (replacement), Japan, China and Australia.
Hit the Dirt (HTD) introduces Cliffs to Crossfire. And with my re-found interest in the Italian Campaign, I figured I needed some. Particularly as the HTD scenario “Cassino Massif” (p. 17-18) has a bunch. I think they’ll also be useful for Burma. So this is my new / updated cliff collection.
I’ve been talking to Arty Conliffe about potential Official Supplements for Crossfire. Official because they have Arty’s blessing and input. I’m thinking about both a commercial scenario book and some freebie booklets. My megalomaniac aspirations for 2022 mean I want to write one of each. There are lots of possibilities and I thought I’m share my thinking.
Japanese Tank Hunter Teams in Crossfire
A few weeks ago I did some research on “Human bullet” assaults (nikuhaku kōgeki) – Japanese Suicide Anti-tank Teams. Now I have to decide how to simulate them in Crossfire. There are two parts to that: game effect of “Human bullet” assaults (nikuhaku kōgeki) and the organisation of Japanese Suicide Anti-tank Teams.
In my pile of lead I have two, count them, two battalions for the 14th Army in the Burma Campaign. One Welsh. One Gurkha. So I figured I needed a painting guide. Luckily most of the troops in the 14th army wore the same kit. Same with the Chindits. Whether the early redyed Khaki Drill (KD) or custom Jungle Green (JG) the troops in 1943-45 wore “grey-green” which was, once in combat, far more grey than green. Recommendations are for Vallejo Model Color although I occasionally mention alternatives using Humbrol paints.
I’m indebted to the various wargamers that have gone done this journey of exploration before me, particularly Mark Davies (aka Jemima Fawr), Doms Decals, Mick in Switzerland, and Paul Scrivens-Smith (AKA scrivs).
Japanese infantry were already conducting “human bullet” assaults (nikuhaku kōgeki) against Soviet armour in 1939. In the absence of better anti-tank options they continued this practice throughout World War II, whether in China, the Pacific, or Burma. The death of the individual was accepted as the necessary price for the destruction of the tank, in accordance with the Japanese doctrine of “one soldier, one tank.” The goal was to combine honorable suicide with definite military results.
I’ve had a go at gullies and depressions before. But they look too much like hills. So I decided to have another go modelling just the edge of the depression. Then I took this concept further and modelled a modular ravine system. I featured both of these when I asked, How does my Burmese battlefield look? In this post I share a bit more about how I make these features.
I am always impressed by Brett Simpson’s Pacific War tables for Crossfire. He inspired me to improve my jungle terrain. More jungle will be useful for Burma, Portuguese Colonial Africa, and Vietnam. I made some steps before we played the Pick up game in Burma, but I wanted to make my tables even better. So I’ve been bolstering my crossfire terrain and now have Pagodas, rice paddies, Bamboo groves, boulder fields, rock fields, palm trees, ravines, depressions, Burmese houses, jungle undergrowth (not featured here), crests (not featured here) and cliffs (not featured here). Some of these I’ve posted about previously, and some are yet to come. Now, after all that effort, I wanted to know two things. Do I have enough jungle terrain to fill a table? Does my jungle terrain look good enough? So I got it all out and threw it on a 6’x4′ table. I can definitely fill a table. And I reckon the table looks good enough, not perfect, but good enough.
Bishenpur is a large village on the Tiddim Road on the western edge of the Logtak Lake in the Imphal basin. In the three battles fought at Bishenpur the Japanese 33 Division battered itself to destruction against 17 Indian Light Division. This was all part of climatic finish of the Battle of Imphal. For this post I focus on the conflict in the plains, near the road and in the villages (Bishenpur, Potsangbam and Ningthoukhong), so gloss over the actions on the Silchar track and on the roadblock at Torbung. Although other nationalities are involved, the infantry in 17 Division were primarily Gurkhas, hence the title. Almost all of this material is from Ian Lyall Grant’s brilliant book, Burma The Turning Point: The seven battles on the Tiddim Road which turned the tide of the Burma war (Grant, 1993). I drew some maps.
I have already chosen my Anglo-Indian tanks in Burma and now I need a painting Guide for them. My guide is customised for the vehicles I want. If you want something wider in scope then I can recommend two invaluable sources for Anglo-Indian tanks in Burma, both by Mark Davies; British & Indian Armoured Units Of the Burma Campaign: A Painting Guide (V1.8) and his excellent series on the 14th Army on his Jemina Fawr website (lots of links below). I have used both for my own guide.
Commandos in the 14th Army. Yup. Commandos in Burma. What is that about? Some infantry units of the 14th army had commando platoons and/or companies. These are not the British Commandos formed to fight in occupied Europe. They were something else. The question is, what where they? Who were they? What were they for?
My British and Gurkha infantry in Burma will need some armoured support. Of course Shermans and Stuarts appeared in Burma, as they did everywhere. But Lee tanks did well in Burma and, unlike other theatres, were in service until 1945. And for armoured car support I’m going for the Daimler. Where possible I’m opting for Sikh units just so these vehicles are obviously different to the same vehicles fighting in other theatres – that Sikh turban (‘Puggaree’) will stand out. However, in Burma, the Lee tank was reserved for British units. This post covers my options and my choices.
I’ve got both a Welsh and a Gurkha battalion planned for the Burma Campaign. So I thought I should get a clear idea of their order of battle for Crossfire. Information is scarce, particularly for the Gurkhas. George Forty, in his “The British Army Handbook, 1939-1945”, lumps all British and Commonwealth battalions, in all theatres, together under a single order of battle. This corresponds well with the Crossfire rules themselves, which have a single organisation for a “Great Britain: Leg Infantry Battalion (1939-’45)”. However, I have found the British and Commonwealth formations in Burma were similar to, but not identical to, units in other theatres.